Pennsylvania Roads - I-476
I-476, the Blue Route and
Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension
Unreplaced button copy on the I-476 (Blue Route) SB Exit 16 ramp to I-76 WB, courtesy Scott Colbert. PA 23 probably should have the I-76 exit number on its exit BGS, a standard practice in most states.
The NB Exit 16A ramp also has a couple of splits, with a leg of its own leading to Matsonford Rd., just like the SB side. However, this is the only old sign left in this direction.
Approaching the end of the Blue Route from I-476 NB, first photo courtesy Doug Kerr and the last two photos on the left and right of the same gantry. The road continuing straight ahead was known as PA 9 until the completion of I-476 in 1992 and subsequent name-change petition in 1996. (Side note: PA 309 and PA 9 ran close by each other. Before PA 9 was even conceived, 309 was US 309, so the two are unrelated.)
On I-476 SB (the 25A was taken before renumbering), courtesy Doug Kerr. Yes, both of them are SB. They're actually close to a half mile apart.
Okay, I'm serious. I-476 doesn't actually exit itself, but rather, these signs date from when this was still PA 9, so it would in fact be an exit to leave the Turnpike and join a new route. Now that there's one number, it's a little less intuitive. As for the distance discrepancy, consider that the exit ramps for I-276 actually leave the mainline before the final tollbooth turns the Northeast Extension into the Blue Route. Much thanks to Raymond Martin for helping me figure this out.
PA 663 EB has a jughandle to get onto I-476, which loops around a parking lot and comes to this sign when it crosses mainline 663 again. I know the PTC is big on their PA TURNPIKE shields, but this is one route that should not get one. It's an Interstate, not a state route. Photo courtesy Scott Colbert.
A fairly useless remnant of the PA 9 days, NB at Exit 56 for US 22 and, through complex maneuvers, I-78. (78 was originally to be routed along the 22 freeway, but a new interchange or new ramps should have been built when that changed.)
The only tunnel not on the mainline Turnpike, or indeed on I-76, is under Blue Mountain on the Northeast Extension. The square NB tunnel to the left was the original for both directions.
Old signs on the trumpet to I-80, which intersects PA 940 at grade, courtesy Scott Colbert. Amazingly, the first photo isn't button copy, though it must date that far back and must be state-issued signage (or Turnpike-issued) - I've never seen anything like it in PA, though.
Two historic northbound Averill Hecht photos (he believes from 1998) on either end of the final tollbooth. To get from I-476 northbound to I-81 northbound, a very common move, one must first make a 180 degree turn (in the first photo, whose sign was recycled from I believe 1/2 mile out) where the Northeast Extension was meant to continue to New York. (I-81 took over the proposed route north of here, and because I-476 had already been constructed with the loop to get down the mountain to US 6, the loop remained. Bad oversight in my opinion.) One then exits the "mainline" that had been constructed to US 11, and proceeds around a 270 degree loop of a double-trumpet connecting I-81 and I-476. Finally, traffic curves 135 degrees around the outside of the other end of the trumpet, and merges. Basically, there are an extra 540 degrees in there.
Onto PA 23
Onto PA 940
Onto US 11
Onto US 6
I-476 Blue Route and Northeast Extension on Steve Anderson's phillyroads.com
I-476 and the PA Turnpike (and NE Extension) on Jeff Kitsko's pahighways.com
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